Cairo: The Complete Guide
Located on the land connecting Africa and Asia, Cairo is the capital city of Egypt and the 7th most populous city in the world. It serves as the center of commerce, economy, education, and tourism in the country, and its name translates to “victorious” in Arabic. Throughout its history, Cairo has been conquered by various empires, resulting in a rich cultural and historical background that has made it one of the world’s most renowned tourist destinations. As the capital of Egyptian civilization, one of the world’s oldest civilizations, Cairo is home to numerous historical artifacts that may pique your interest. The city boasts many attractions, including the Cheops pyramid, one of the seven wonders of the world. Having been a highly developed city for thousands of years, Cairo has become a prominent destination for tourism.
Visiting Cairo for the first time and wondering what are the top places to see in the city? In this complete guide, I share the best things to do in Cairo on the first visit. Top help you plan your trip, I have also included an interactive map and practical tips for visiting!
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This complete guide to Cairo not only tells you about the very best sights and tourist attractions for first-time visitors to the city but also provide insights into a few of our personal favorite things to do.
This is a practical guide to visiting the best places to see in Cairo and is filled with tips and info that should answer all your questions!
The Egyptian Museum
The largest collection of Pharaonic antiquities in the world can be found at the Egyptian Museum, which is also the oldest archaeological museum in the Middle East. Its comprehensive collection ranges from the Predynastic Period to the Greco-Roman Era.
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Address: The Egyptian Museum, قسم قصر النيل، El-Tahrir Square, Ismailia, Qasr El Nil, Egypt | Hours: 9am-7pm Mon-Wed, to 9pm Sun & Thu, to 4pm Fri & Sat | Price: adult/student LE120/60, after 5.30pm Sun & Thu LE180/90, Royal Mummies Room LE150/75, camera LE50 | Distance: 0.48km
The Borg El-Qāhira, also known as the Cairo Tower, is a freestanding concrete tower situated in Cairo, Egypt. Standing at 187 meters (614 feet), it held the title of the tallest structure in Egypt for 37 years, until it was overtaken by the Suez Canal overhead powerline crossing in 1998. Similarly, it was the tallest structure in North Africa for 21 years until the Nador transmitter in Morocco took over in 1982. The Cairo Tower was also the tallest structure in Africa for a year, until the Sentech Tower in South Africa surpassed it in 1962. Situated in the Gezira district on Gezira Island, along the River Nile and close to downtown Cairo, the tower is considered one of Cairo's prominent modern landmarks and is often regarded as Egypt's second most renowned monument, next only to the Pyramids of Giza.
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Address: Cairo Tower, Al Borg, Zamalek, Egypt | Hours: 8am-midnight, to 1am summer | Price: adult/child under 6yr LE70/free | Website | Distance: 1.11km
Pyramids of Giza
The Giza necropolis, located in Egypt, is a famous historical site that comprises of the Great Pyramid, the Pyramid of Khafre, the Pyramid of Menkaure, and the Great Sphinx. These impressive structures were constructed during the Fourth Dynasty of the Old Kingdom of ancient Egypt, between 2500 and 2600 BC. Additionally, the site houses several temples, cemeteries, and the remains of a workers' village.
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Address: The Great Pyramid of Giza, Al Haram, Nazlet El-Semman, Al Giza Desert, Egypt | Hours: 8am-4pm | Price: adult/student LE120/60 | Distance: 12.17km
Saqqara, the extensive necropolis of the ancient Egyptian capital of Memphis, is located approximately 17 miles (27 kilometers) south of downtown Cairo. Named after the Memphite god of the dead, Sokar, it is Egypt's largest archaeological site.
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Address: Saqqara Necropolis, Badrshein, Egypt | Distance: 19.65km
Memphis, the ancient city and capital of Egypt, played a significant role throughout much of the country's history. Situated on the west bank of the Nile River, approximately 15 miles (24 km) south of modern-day Cairo, Memphis is located south of the Nile River delta.
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Address: Memphis, Mit Rahinah, Badrshein, Egypt | Distance: 22.28km
The 12th dynasty (1938–c. 1756 BCE) constructed the remaining three pyramids at Dahshūr, which are not well preserved as their inner cores were mostly constructed with mud bricks. The tombs of the royal families situated near these pyramids included an impressive collection of jewelry and personal items. Some scholars consider these artifacts to represent the pinnacle of development in Egyptian metalworking and lapidary art. One notable discovery made at Dahshūr was the jewelry cache of Queen Weret, uncovered in 1994 during excavations by the Metropolitan Museum of Art.Dahshūr is an ancient pyramid site located on the west bank of the Nile River, just south of Ṣaqqārah in northern Egypt. Together with other nearby ruins such as Abū Ṣīr, Ṣaqqārah, Abū Ruwaysh, and the Pyramids of Giza, it was collectively designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1979.
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Address: Bent Pyramid, Badrshein, Egypt | Distance: 28.35km